This blogger wants to turn U&U into a book.
Doesn’t every blogger want to turn their blog into a book?
Now books are my thing – my very best thing. Besides being a professional Christian, I am a professional bibliophile. I do collection development at Bishop Payne Library. Like Juan Valdez who picks the Columbian coffee beans one by one, I help select thousands of new titles each year one book at a time. When you see me at the circulation desk drooling over the Times Literary Supplement, I am not goofing off; I am doing my job.
Not only do I help select them, in fact, I also read them. Not thousands of them, of course, but lots. My reading tastes are eclectic. Currently checked out on my library card are: Margaret Atwood’s “Year of the Flood”; Thoreau’s “Walden Pond”; a text called “Varieties of Anomalous Experiences”; “The Penguin History of Canada; “Collected Ghost Stories” by R.M. James; and Sigmund Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams” – just to name a few.
I even have thought of starting a book blog: The Year of Reading Manically – but that’s another blog post for another day.
Reading books and buying books do not qualify me to be a writer of books. Blogging does not make me an author. But all of this helps. It helps a lot.
Two months ago, I met Meredith Maslich at the Story District coming out party. Meredith wears multiple hats. She is both a Story District instructor and also the founder and editor-in-chief of Possibilities Publishing. – “a small , independent publishing house…living in the dynamic space beside traditional publishing where anything is possible.”
I checked out their website and gave her a call. Meredith was kind enough to have coffee with me and give me the lay of the land.
U&U is unique, she said, but you don’t just randomly plop your blog into a book. Folks already read it for free. You need a story, a real story that pulls it all together. You need a really compelling narrative arc (I love that phrase “narrative arc”.) You want to make people really want to turn the pages.
So I asked myself and Meredith, “Now for me what would that be? “ “Look at your most popular posts”, she said ,“That will give you a clue.”
Well that’s easy. My most popular post of the 66 I’ve published so far is Naked in Public – or Coming Out Crazy. It’s a funny, frank, and informative piece about my aversion to locker room nudity as a metaphor for coming out of my particular closet.
What makes it so popular though is not the compelling content but the title. “Naked in Public” is a very catchy catch phrase often used as search terms on Google and other nefarious search engines.
The post also includes “The Joani Slideshow” produced by documentarian friend, Kristin Adair. It’s also been viewed a billion times – but only to disappoint the viewers. The closest to naked I get is a slide of me sitting on the couch, wearing pajamas, eating cereal, and watching The Andy Griffith Show. (So sexy!)
But talking to Meredith made me realize that all 66 of my posts are about being Naked in Public. With each post I continue to come out of my closet. I continue to come out crazy – in new and different ways: vulnerable, scared, liberated, and alive. I have come alive more each week, as I have helped others get naked too.
So that’s my narrative arc. That’s what my book will be all about – this thread that runs through U&U.
So I am taking a Story District class to help me pull the pieces together. I’ve joined Monkeys with Typewriters, a weekly Meetup for creative types (all half my age!) And I’ve signed up at Possibilities Publishing for an online tutorial starting in January – kind of like Authorship 101.
In 2016, I hope to write a book. And I hope like blogging, I will have the discipline in writing to crank out a chapter or two every week or two.
So dear followers, you will see and hear less of me. I will still post here from time to time – once a month or so. At some point next year U&U will withdraw into its cocoon hopefully to re-emerge as a real live book — both in print, of course, and downloadable for your Kindle. It is the 21st century after all!
So please, pray for me and wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted, one chapter at a time!